Moscow is ready to extend an arms control pact with the incoming US administration of President-elect Joe Biden. The New START treaty, which limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads, is set to expire on Feb. 5 after the present US and Russian administrations could not reach an agreement over its extension. Biden is in favor of the preservation of the treaty.
Twelve of the 22 workers trapped underground after an explosion at a gold mine in eastern China a week ago are still alive, Chinese media reported saying that the workers managed to send a note to rescuers. The note says that four of the workers were injured and that the condition of others was deteriorating because of a lack of fresh air and an influx of water.
The US military has completed withdrawing troops from Somalia, according to the U.S. Africa Command. The withdrawal of the last 700 troops from the African nation comes less than a month before the country is set to hold a national election. Experts have warned that the pullout has come at the worst possible time for Somalia, as the threat from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group is very high.
China has reported its economy grew 2.3% in 2020 compared to a year earlier, with the final quarter seeing a growth of 6.5%. The figure makes China the only major economy in the world with positive growth last year. Industrial production was a big driver of China’s growth, jumping 7.3% in Dec from a year earlier. The growth came despite an economic slump of 6.8% in the 1st 3 months of 2020.
A judge ruled Monday that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny must remain in pretrial detention for 30 days. Navalny was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after he arrived from Berlin. The UN and Western nations urged Russia to immediately free Navalny. Russia had issued a warrant for the Navalny’s arrest last week, saying he had violated the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement.
Brazil’s health regulator on Sunday approved the urgent use of coronavirus vaccines made by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, as the country is facing a resurgence of infections in many parts. Brazil currently has 6 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine ready to distribute in the next few days and is awaiting the arrival of 2 million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and partner Oxford Univ.
US music producer Phil Spector has died at the age of 81 while serving a prison sentence for murder. Spector, who revolutionized 1960s pop music with his ’Wall of Sound’ production technique, died on Saturday of complications from Covid-19, according to his daughter, Nicole Audrey Spector. In 2009, he was convicted of the 2003 murder of Hollywood actress Lana Clarkson.
Noted Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass revealed details of an ancient funerary temple in a vast necropolis south of Cairo. Archaeologists had unearthed the temple of Queen Neit, wife of King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty that ruled Egypt from 2323 B.C. till 2150 B.C. at the Saqqara necropolis. They also found a 4-meter long papyrus that includes texts of the Book of the Dead.
Police in Amsterdam clashed with protesters Sunday who were taking part in a banned protest denouncing the Dutch government’s coronavirus restrictions. Police used water cannons, batons, attack dogs, and horses to disperse the crowd. Around a hundred were arrested. Authorities said the police actions were intended to make people adhere to social distancing norms.
Iran has urged the UN nuclear watchdog to avoid publishing ’unnecessary’ details on Tehran’s nuclear program after the agency’s report last week said the country was taking steps to produce uranium metal. Following the report, Germany, France, and the UK said Tehran has ’no credible civilian use’ for its development of uranium metal, and termed it a ’violation’ of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal.
Alexei Navalny is due to fly back to Russia on Sunday for the first time since he was poisoned last summer. Navalny announced his decision to return from Germany on Wednesday, dismissing what he called new fabricated criminal cases against him. Navalny says President Putin was behind his poisoning, while the Kremlin denies involvement. Supporters plan to greet Navalny at Vnukovo airport.
As a surge in COVID-19 infections has overwhelmed the health care system of Lebanon, the country has signed a deal for 2.1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer. According to the health ministry of Lebanon, the doses will start to arrive in the country in early February. Another 2.7 million doses will be provided via a UN led program for countries in need.
Gunmen fired on a car in northern Kabul on Sunday, killing two women judges and wounding the driver. The two judges worked for the high court, but their identity was not revealed. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack although multiple attacks in recent months across the region have been claimed by the Islamic State.
According to a medical body, clashes between different ethnic groups in Sudan’s West Darfur state has resulted in the number of people dead to rise to 83. A row in which a man was stabbed to death resulted in the fighting in the state capital, El Geneina. A delegation has been sent by PM Abdalla Hamdok to investigate. A state-wide curfew has also been imposed.
Spanish mountaineer Sergi Mingote died while climbing K2, Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez announced Saturday. K2, part of the Karakoram Range, is the second highest mountain in the world at 8,611 meters (28,251 feet). A day earlier, Mingote shared a post announcing that he was on day 27 of his climb and had reached 7,000 meters. K2 renowned among mountaineers for its difficulty.
On Saturday, a Philippine Air Force helicopter bearing supplies for counterinsurgency forces faced engine trouble which led to its crash, taking the lives of 7 people on board. Maj. Rodulfo Cordero Jr., the regional army spokesperson claimed that there was an attempt made for an emergency landing, however, it was unable to carry out the same.
During routine government testing which was conducted recently in China, three samples from a northern China ice cream company came back positive for COVID-19. 4,836 boxes of the ice cream may have been contaminated, and more than half of these had already been distributed for sale within China when the test results came back. Only 2,089 boxes of the ice cream could be confiscated.
Friday night in Guatemala witnessed a conflict between migrants and Honduran security forces as a large crowd of illegal travelers attempted to cross the border. The Associated Press brought to the front a migrant’s opinion, ’We are going to leave the country, to ask for help wherever they receive us.’ Authorities detained hundreds of migrants ’including families with young children.’
On Saturday, for the first time, NASA ignited all four engines of its deep space exploration rocket built by Boeing. The rocket is mounted at NASA’s test facility, Stennis Space Center located in Mississippi. The engines were ignited for a brief period of around four minutes so as to test the same for the rocket’s first launch in November this year.
The G-7 summit scheduled to take place in June is set to be held at an English village on the east coast of Cornwall, as declared by the British government. Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed that the event will be aimed at promoting a ’green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.’ Johnson expressed via a statement the legacy of Cornwall’s tin and copper mines and its returned importance.
President Yoweri Museveni, the longtime leader of Uganda was re-elected amid accusations of vote rigging levelled by his main rival Bobi Wine. 59 percent of the vote was won by Mr. Museveni, while 35 percent of the vote was won by Bobi Wine. Mr. Wine, who is a former pop star, had earlier pledged to provide evidence of fraud. Allegations of vote rigging have been denied by the Electoral Commission
On Thursday, The International Atomic Energy Agency revealed that Iran had informed the authorities that it had ’begun installing equipment for the production of uranium metal.’ On Saturday, Britain, France and Germany ’pressed’ Iran to prevent them from violating its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers reasoning that Tehran ’no credible civilian use for uranium metal.’
IMPACT-se, a watchdog, revealed that textbooks that were part of the new curriculum for Palestinian children by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinians, included texts that incite violence and hatred, while glorifying terrorism. UNRWA chief Phillipe Lazzarini tweeted that the material was distributed in error. UNRWA has been criticised before for alleged incitement to violence in its publications.